How to Polish Copper to A Mirror Finish

For thousands of years, copper has been used by civilizations worldwide and is one of the most versatile metals in use today. From jewelry and coins to plumbing fixtures, copper is highly valued for its visual appeal and durability.

How to Polish Copper to a Mirror Finish

And while raw copper has plenty of charm, polishing it to a mirror finish can take it to a whole new level. So let’s look at how to polish copper to a mirror finish on your copper pieces.

Can You Polish Copper to A Mirror Finish?

Copper can have a beautiful and unique finish when properly polished. It’s possible to obtain a mirror-like shine with copper that’ll make it gleam spectacularly. Polishing copper is not an exact science, but practiced hands know the proper techniques for achieving this visual effect.

The best way to polish copper involves buffing the surface with fine sandpaper followed by polishing and waxing. Doing this will create a shiny coating of protective wax which seals in the luster and sparkling shine, allowing you to admire a gorgeous and reflective finish on brass, bronze, or whatever material you’re using.

With the correct methods, you can transform plain copper into a dazzling piece that captures anyone’s attention!

Why Should You Polish Copper to A Mirror Finish?

For those looking to make their copper pieces truly stand out, there is the option to polish them to a mirror finish. Not only does this add a decorative layer of shine that catches the eye, but it can also prolong the life of your copper materials.

Copper naturally has antibacterial properties, which can be amplified by polishing it to perfection. This helps keep bacteria away and can help protect whatever your copper piece functions for from damage. Polishing copper to a mirror finish is also discreetly elegant since nothing looks as regal and luxurious as something with a shining finish.

Choose to polish for a lasting look that will command attention and admirers no matter where it is placed.

7 Steps to Follow on How to Polish Copper to A Mirror Finish

Step 1: Gather Your Supplies

Before you start, you’ll need a few supplies on hand. First, you’ll need some steel wool (grade 0000 or higher) and some fine-grit sandpaper (600-grit or higher). You might also want to use some polishing compounds.

Some people swear by Brasso or other commercial polishes. Still, there are also plenty of homemade recipes that work just as well (a mixture of lemon juice, salt, vinegar, and flour makes an effective natural polish).

Step 2: Start With Steel Wool

Begin by taking your piece of copper and rubbing it with the steel wool to remove any tarnish or dirt. This will help smooth out the surface and make polishing easier later on. Make sure to rub in gentle circles—you don’t want to scratch the metal with the steel wool!

Begin by Taking Your Piece of Copper

Once you have finished cleaning with steel wool, rinse off the piece with warm water and dry it off completely with a soft cloth before continuing on to the next step.

Step 3: Polish With Sandpaper & Compound

Once you’ve wiped down the copper piece with steel wool, it’s time to use sandpaper and compound to get that mirror-like finish. Start by taking your 600-grit sandpaper and gently sanding down any rough patches or blemishes on the metal surface until it feels smooth.

Next, apply a small amount of polish/compound onto your cloth or paper towel and rub in small circles over the entire piece until all areas are polished evenly. Finally, buff it off with another clean cloth until all excess polish is removed from the surface of your copper piece. 

Step 4: Rinse & Dry

When you’re finished polishing, rinse the piece off with warm water and dry it with a soft cloth. You may need to use a bit of elbow grease to make sure all the polish and compound residue is removed from the piece—your copper must be completely clean before you start waxing!

Step 5: Wax

Once your copper piece is cleaned and dried off, it’s time to wax. First, apply a thin layer of wax—be sure not to apply too much, as this can leave behind a sticky residue and make your copper dull again. Then, working in small circles, rub the wax into the metal surface until the entire piece is covered.

Step 6: Buff Away Excess Wax

Once your piece is completely waxed, take a soft cloth and gently buff away any excess wax until you are left with a glossy sheen. You may need to repeat this process several times if your piece has deeper crevices or tarnish spots requiring extra attention.

Take a Soft Cloth

Step 7: Enjoy Your Mirror-Like Finish

Once you’ve completed these steps, you should have a beautiful mirror-like finish on your copper piece! Now your piece is ready to be displayed and enjoyed for years to come—all thanks to a few simple polishing steps. Enjoy!

That’s it! You’ve now learned how to polish copper to a mirror finish in seven easy steps. Now you can take your newly polished piece and proudly show it off for all to admire! With the right tools, knowledge, and patience, you’ll be able to create amazing results with any type of metal. Good luck and happy polishing!

Things You Need to Know Before Polishing Copper to A Mirror Finish

When polishing copper to a mirror finish, it is important to be aware of just how difficult the process can be. You must take several essential steps to properly polish and protect your copper item if you want it to maintain its mirror finish.

First, use a non-abrasive cleaner to remove any dirt and debris from the surface. Once that’s done, you’ll need a buffing wheel and rouge compound or abrasive paste, depending on the desired shine. Keep in mind that working with a heavy-duty buffer may require breathing protection.

If you’d rather not invest in this equipment, many pre-polished products are available on the market. Whichever type of polishing method or product you choose, remember that thorough cleaning and regular maintenance are critical for preserving your item’s shine.

Benefits of Polishing Copper to A Mirror Finish

Polishing copper to a mirror finish is aesthetically pleasing and offers an array of benefits. One such benefit of polishing copper is that it extends the life of the metal, as polished surfaces are much more resistant to corrosion, chemicals, abrasion, and other environmental factors.

Additionally, this type of polishing provides greater reflective power and improved reflectance coefficients when compared to unsmoothed metals. This makes polishing particularly suitable for applications in which high reflectivity is desirable, such as solar radiators and reflectors.

Polishing Provides Greater Reflective Power

In short, polishing copper to a mirror finish improves its overall quality and performance—making it an ideal choice for many applications.

6 Common Mistakes People Make When Trying to Polishing Copper to A Mirror Finish

1. Not Using the Right Materials

One of the most common mistakes people make when polishing copper is not using the right materials. You need to use a non-abrasive cloth and a gentle polish to avoid scratching the surface of the metal.

2. Not Using Enough Pressure

Another mistake people make is not using enough pressure when polishing. You must apply enough pressure to remove any tarnish or dirt without damaging the metal.

3. Not Moving in A Circular Motion

You need to move in a circular motion when polishing copper to avoid leaving streaks. Make sure to go over the entire surface evenly to achieve a consistent finish.

4. Not Rinsing Off the Polish

After you have finished polishing, you need to rinse off the polish with water. This will help to remove any residue that has been left behind and will also prevent the polish from staining your clothing.

5. Not Drying Off the Copper

Once you have rinsed off the polish, you need to dry off the copper with a soft cloth. This will help to prevent water spots from forming on the surface of the metal.

6. Not Storing the Copper Properly

When you are not using your polished copper, you need to store it properly to keep it looking its best. Store it in a cool, dry place from direct sunlight to prevent tarnishing.

Using Your Polished Copper

By following these steps and avoiding common mistakes, you can easily achieve a beautiful mirror finish on your copper pieces. Now that you know how to polish copper to a mirror finish, you can use this technique to make your home décor look its best!


You can easily achieve an elegant mirror finish on your copper pieces with just a few simple steps! Start by cleaning off any dirt or tarnish using steel wool, then move on to polishing with sandpaper and compound before giving it one final buffing with a clean cloth for that perfect shine!

Polishing copper doesn’t have to be difficult; just follow these tips for the best results! Thanks for reading our post about how to polish copper to a mirror finish.

Angela Ervin

Angela Ervin

Angela is the executive editor of DIY quickly. She began her career as an interior designer before applying her strategic and creative passion to lifestyle and home. She has close to 15 years of experience in creative writing and online content strategy for housekeeping, home decorations as well as other niche efforts. She loves her job and has the privilege of working with an extraordinary team. She lives with her husband, two sons, and daughter in Petersburg. When she's not busy working she spent time with her family.

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